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50469.  Sat Feb 11, 2006 5:54 am Reply with quote

Question: Are donkeys lovely?
Forfeit: No.
Correct Answer: Yes, they certainly are.

Source: Everyone knows it.

50470.  Sat Feb 11, 2006 5:56 am Reply with quote

In various (poor and/or inaccessible) parts of the world, donkeys are used as ambulances - the equivalent of air ambulances. They used to be so employed in Weston-super-Mare in Somerset, well within living memory, at a time when the town’s hospital was so close to the beach that the beach donkeys (hired out to give rides to children) could get a minor casualty to the casualty department long before the real ambulance arrived.

Source: weston

Here’s a pic of a donkey ambulance in action in modern Crete (taking an injured bale of hay to hospital):

(Sometimes, google reveals, “donkey ambulance” refers to an ambulance for donkeys.
No doubt it goes “Hee-haw, hee-haw, hee-haw .....”)

50471.  Sat Feb 11, 2006 5:57 am Reply with quote

“Who remembers the Blondin Donkey, the lauded tightrope-walking mule of the 1880s?”

Source: ‘Inventing the Victorians’ by Matthew Sweet (Faber, 2001).

No-one, according to google, and Sweet gives no further information. Can anyone find anything? I’d love to know more about a tightrope-walking mule.

50487.  Sat Feb 11, 2006 6:58 am Reply with quote

Donkey Kong was the game that made Nintendo; the scenario was that the player (in the character of Mario) had to climb ladders up to the top of the screen in order to rescue his girlfriend Pauline, whilst avoiding barrels which were thrown at him by Donkey Kong.

Universal sued Nintendo, claiming that the Donkster infringed their rights in the character King Kong, but they lost the case because it turned out that a previous lawsuit had determined that King Kong was in the public domain (which is interesting to know, because it means we won't be sued for Qing Qong). The company which obtained that declaration for its own purposes was, wait for it, Universal.

51962.  Thu Feb 16, 2006 1:53 pm Reply with quote

Donkeys were unknown in Ireland until the 17th century. The reason they became so widespread was that the English nicked all the horses for the cavalry; by 1815 Ireland was virtually bereft of horses.

51963.  Thu Feb 16, 2006 1:55 pm Reply with quote

Donkeys' coats aren't waterproof (unlike ponies) - so they aren't best suited to British weather. Or, they didn't used to be - but it never seems to rain any more. Has anyone else noticed that?

52251.  Fri Feb 17, 2006 5:33 am Reply with quote

Done nothing else all week where I am, Flash. Perhaps I could come and plant my bloody shallots in your garden?

55768.  Mon Feb 27, 2006 11:54 am Reply with quote

“In Martock, a stone horse trough commemorates 400,000 horses, asses and mules lost in the South African Boer War.”

- Your Somerset, January 2006.

Frederick The Monk
56766.  Fri Mar 03, 2006 11:21 am Reply with quote

There's a Donkey' at the Australian National War Memorial.

John Simpson joined the Australian Medical Corps in the First world War and, both he and his donkey become famous for their efforts to bring the wounded from the battle field to the rear under continious enemy fire.On returning to the rear with more wounded he was gunned down and died. Pte John Simpson was buried on the beach of Hell Spit.

56778.  Fri Mar 03, 2006 12:52 pm Reply with quote

Donkeys aren't natural jumpers, but that doesn't stop insane English people from trying:

According to that site, China has the largest population of Donkeys, with 11 million.

Frederick The Monk
56822.  Fri Mar 03, 2006 6:39 pm Reply with quote

China must have the largest population of an awful lot of domestic animals.

Molly Cule
58342.  Thu Mar 09, 2006 8:58 am Reply with quote

Donkeys are often fielded with horses for their calming effect.

Frederick The Monk
58351.  Thu Mar 09, 2006 9:40 am Reply with quote

Perhaps we should put one in the audience to deter streakers.

Then again..........

59650.  Tue Mar 14, 2006 7:30 am Reply with quote

“Dead donkeys were leaped over for luck [doesn't say when or by whom]: they were considered extremely rare, since the common belief was that a donkey at death’s door would sneak off and conceal itself.” [Similar to the elephant’s graveyard?]

and elsewhere:

“An old saying claims that no-one ever sees a dead donkey; however, there is also a tradition that to see a dead donkey means great good fortune, and even as recently as this century it was considered a good-luck charm to leap over the carcass of a dead donkey three times.”

hence a question:

Q: What should you do to a dead donkey?
F: Drop it.

Other donkey superstitions:

“Christian tradition stated that donkeys originally had unmarked hides, and that it was only after Christ's entry into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey that they received the dark cross on their backs. The hairs from the cross were widely believed to cure a number of ailments, and were often worn in a charm around the neck to guard against whooping-cough, toothache, fits, and to ease teething pains in babies. [u]Sometimes the hairs were eaten in a sandwich instead[/u]. Riding a donkey was also believed efficacious, especially if the rider faced the donkey's tail end, and was sometimes used as a preventative for toothache, measles and other children's complaints. One cure for whooping-cough and ague stated that the patient should be passed under a donkey and over its back either three or nine times; the trick of feeding an animal some of the patient's hair to transfer the illness was also used with donkeys. The donkey was also used to help cure the complaints of other animals; letting a black donkey run with mares in a field was thought to stop the mares miscarrying.”

“Vitamin Q” by Roddy Lumsden (Chambers, 2004).

61841.  Sat Mar 25, 2006 7:04 am Reply with quote

Here’s a son of a donkey who was awarded an old age pension:

“It is right for a good man to feed horses which have been worn out in his service, and not merely to train dogs when they are young, but to take care of them when they are old. When the Athenian people built the Parthenon, they set free the mules which had done the hardest work in drawing the stones up to the acropolis, and let them graze where they pleased unmolested. It is said that one of them came of its own accord to where the works were going on, and used to walk up to the acropolis with the beasts who were drawing up their loads, as if to encourage them and show them the way. This mule was, by a decree of the people of Athens, maintained at the public expense [including free meals] for the rest of its life [as was generally done for great athletes].” - Plutarch.

Sources: The Donkey Sanctuary Newsletter , Spring 2006.

Incidentally, Chambers English Dictionary (1988) says that donkey was considered a slang term (for ass) as late as 1823.


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